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Brussels and Tintin

Brussels, source of inspiration

Even though Hergé tried to smooth out some of the unduly glaring Brussels references, there is no doubt that the author derived inspiration from his own everyday life and the world he lived in. Cafés, streets, hotels, theatres, museums or parks: the Brussels atmosphere is woven into the filigree of his work throughout. Oftentimes, Tintin, Snowy and their friends are seen against the backdrop of the capital’s typical cityscapes.

Here is just a selection of examples that will be familiar to Tintinologists :
 
The Parc de Bruxelles/Warandepark or Koninklijk Park (Royal Park) in King Ottokar’s Sceptre  
The Royal Park featured in King Ottokar’s Sceptre has the same aspect and the same outlines as the Royal Park in Brussels.
 
The Royal Palace of Brussels in King Ottokar’s Sceptre
The Royal Palace of Brussels, which was completed in 1829, would serve as a model for the way in which Hergé drew the Royal Palace of Muskar XII, King of Syldavia, in King Ottokar’s Sceptre.
 
Avenue Louise/Louizalaan
Although none of Tintin’s adventures actually took place there, the architecture of this major Brussels thoroughfare is present throughout all of Tintin’s adventures. Constructed in 1950, the building at n° 162 was home to Hergé’s studio as his everyday place of work.
 
The Marché aux Puces/Vlooienmarkt (Flea Market) in The Secret of the Unicorn
Since 1873, the Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenmarkt has been home to numerous bric-a-brac traders and antiques dealers. Over 500 market stalls continue to set up shop on "Vieux Marché/Oude Markt" (Old Market) every day of the week, offering a treasure trove of goodies and collectibles to professional dealers and amateur collectors alike. As The Secret of the Unicorn gets underway, this is where Tintin uncovers an old model of The Unicorn, the ship that turns out to harbour more than a few riddles. Even today, with a tip of the hat and a knowing wink to Hergé, some bric-a-brac traders are seen to ‘off-handedly’ deck out their stalls with a number of key items on display such as bowler hats, ship models or diving suits...
 
La Monnaie/De Munt (The Mint) in The Seven Crystal Balls  
In 1948, the Royal Theatre of the Mint would inspire Hergé for the interior styling of the "Music Hall Palace" featured in The Seven Crystal Balls.
 
The Metropole Hotel in The Seven Crystal Balls
Built in 1895, the Metropole is one of the most gorgeous hotels anywhere in Brussels. The hotel has managed to preserve its authentic flavour to the full to the present day. The majestic edifice appears in The Seven Crystal Balls (p. 20, box b2) when the taxi carrying Mark Falconer, a member of the Sanders-Hardmuth expedition team, races past the hotel at breakneck speed.
 
A villa located in avenue Delleur/Delleurlaan in The Seven Crystal Balls
The dwelling that sits at n° 6 would inspire Hergé to style the home of Professor Tarragon in The Seven Crystal Balls (p. 28, box c3). In fact, his drawings were faithful to the real building down to the smallest detail.
6 Avenue Delleur/Delleurlaan, 1170 Watermael-Boitsfort/Watermaal-Bosvoorde
 
The Musée du Cinquantenaire/Jubelparkmuseum in The Seven Crystal Balls and The Broken Ear
This is where the mummy is kept that would inspire Rascar Capac in The Seven Crystal Balls (p. 31, box c2), and the fetish that inspired the Arumbaya fetish in The Broken Ear.
Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark, 1000 Brussels
 
The Observatoire Royal de Belgique/Koninklijke Sterrenwacht (Royal Observatory of Belgium) in The Shooting Star
Hergé lived quite close to the Observatory, so it is hardly surprising that the site inspired him for his The Shooting Star album.
Avenue Circulaire/Ringlaan, 1180 Ukkel/Uccle
 

The imprint of Tintin on Brussels

Brussels is home to the world’s most comprehensive Tintin legacy. The streets, cafés, museums, shops … every nook and cranny of the city of Brussels carries Hergé’s imprint.
 
Belgian Comic Strip Center
In the land of the smurfs and Tintin, the Belgian Comic strip Center presents a slew of permanent exhibitions involving rare printing plates and unique items, as well as several temporary exhibitions all held at the same time.

Amongst the permanent exhibitions :

The birth of a comic book
This exhibition gives visitors an insight into the creative process, from the raw idea all the way up to the bookshop shelf.
 
Le Musée de l’imaginaire (1929-1959) (The Museum of the Imaginary)
An itinerary that will take visitors on a grand tour of some of the biggest names of the ninth art, from Hergé (Tintin, 1929) to Roba (Boule et Bill in French, Bollie en Billie in Dutch, 1959), taking in Jijé (Spirou in French, Robbedoes in Dutch), Jacobs (Blake and Mortimer), Vandersteen (Suske en Wiske in Dutch, Bob et Bobette in French) all the way up to Peyo (The Smurfs), Morris (Lucky Luke) and Franquin (Gaston Lagaffe in French, Guust Flater in Dutch). Nineteen stages that will enable you to discover the careers and works of the authors whose combined output has secured Belgium’s place as the land of the comic strip. Over the 30-year time span (1929-1959) the exhibition focuses on, close to two hundred authors have worked as professional comic strip artists between Brussels, Charleroi and Ghent.

Rue des Sables 20 - 1000 Bruxelles
www.cbbd.be
 
Museum of Original Figurines
The MOOF possesses a unique collection that is dedicated to the world of comic strip heroes, in the guise of veritable "small" works of arts. Some of the figurines are very singular: the sarcophagus of Snowy (The Cigars of the Pharaoh), Tintin’s vase (The Blue Lotus), the statue of the little boy Abdallah (Land of Black Gold), the bust of Japanese criminal mind Mitsuhirato (The Blue Lotus), the frescos of Rascar Capac (The Seven Crystal Balls) as well as life-size statues of Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus as shown in Destination Moon.
Galerie Horta-Gare Centrale - 1000 Bruxelles
www.moof-museum.be
 
Brussels Midi Railway Station Fresco
In 2007, on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of Hergé’s anniversary, a fresco was designed and put up against the walls of the platforms of Midi Railway Station. The drawing is derived from Tintin in America, first published in 1932.
Brussels Midi Railway Station - 1000 Brussels
 
Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat Fresco
Just a few steps away from the famed Manneken Pis, a monumental fresco depicts Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock in The Calculus Affair.
Rue de l’Étuve/Stoofstraat - 1000 Brussels


 
Stockel Fresco
At the terminus of metro line 1, two walls have been decorated with frescos that represent some 140 characters from Hergé’s albums. This fresco, designed by the author himself shortly before his death, was painted on the walls of the metro station by his trusted collaborator Bob De Moor.
 
Brussels-Luxembourg Railway Station Fresco
Inaugurated in 2009, a monumental fresco designed by Hergé welcomes visitors inside the main entrance of Brussels-Luxembourg Railway Station. This fresco, which was published in Le Soir newspaper of 27 October 1932, pictures Quick and Flupke alongside Thomson and Thompson.
Brussels-Luxembourg Railway Station - 1050 Elsene/Ixelles
 
Quick and Flupke Fresco
Profound impressions of Hergé’s youth spent in Brussels are seen in the gags of these two mischievous urchins Quick and Flupke who, despite the fact that they would go on to feature in their very own comic strip series, put in a brief appearance in Tintin in the Congo and The Shooting Star.
195 Rue Haute/Hoogstraat - 1000 Brussels
 
The Lombard
Close to the Midi Railway Station sits the "Tintin Building", a listed historical monument that was to become home to the Éditions du Lombard publishing house. The publisher’s went on to put out Tintin/Kuifje magazine from 1946 to 1988. The company’s ensign consisting of the image of Tintin and Snowy is one of the landmark emblems of Brussels.
7 Avenue Paul-Henri Spaak/Paul-Henri Spaaklaan - 1060 Brussels
 
Tintin statue in Ukkel/Uccle
Ukkel/Uccle Cultural Centre is home to a life-size statue of Tintin and Snowy, created by Belgian sculptor Nat Neujean who designed the work at the request of Raymond Leblanc, the founder of Éditions du Lombard, who commissioned the sculpture to celebrate 30 years of Tintin/Kuifje magazine.
47 Rue Rouge/Rodestraat - 1180 Ukkel/Uccle
 
Hergé’s place of birth
Hergé was born on 22 May 1907 in Etterbeek at n° 25 rue Cranz/Cranzstraat.  You can save yourself the trouble of looking up the address as the name of the street has changed since then. Today, you need to find n° 33 rue Philippe Baucq/Philippe Baucqstraat, which carries the commemorative plaque affixed in 1986: "Georges Remi Hergé, the spiritual father of Tintin was born here on 22 May 1907".
Rue Philippe Baucq/Philippe Baucqstraat 33 - 1040 Etterbeek
 
Hergé’s home
The house at n° 17 Avenue Delleur/Delleurlaan where Hergé lived from 1939 to 1953 is where he concocted his most delightful adventures.
17 Avenue Delleur/Delleurlaan - 1170 Watermael-Boitsfort/Watermaal-Bosvoorde
 
Tintin and Snowy statue at Le Sablon/De Zavel
On 21 October 2011, Brussels revealed a new symbol in honour of Hergé and his creation. Now, Le Sablon/De Zavel has a Tintin and Snowy statue which Tintinologists and other fans can come and admire any time of year.
Grand Sablon/Grote Zavel - 1000 Brussels
 
These sites and many more are all waiting to be discovered as part of a leisurely promenade in the footsteps of Tintin and his creator in the heart of Brussels. The "VISITBRUSSELS - Sized for Tintin" map is available from all visitor centres around the city.
 

Comment

1

29/11/2011 22:48

Lieven8 said:

This is a great website! Congratulations! A must for every Tintin fan. Pesonally i love to go to the famous Vossenmarkt where the story of "The secret of the unicorn" begins. See for some pictures on a Sunday morning: http://bit.ly/v6nQCk   Lieven           

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